On Sunday, Leketor Member-Meneh became the first person not named Kylie Deberg to lead the Tigers in kills this season.
Granted, Deberg and Member-Meneh co-led the team with 10 kills on Sunday’s straight-sets win over Boise State. But, Member-Meneh’s performance allowed for a balanced offensive attack that kept Boise State second guessing.
“(Member-Meneh) is doing awesome stuff,” interim head coach Joshua Taylor said. “Her best skill is attacking and she is doing some fantastic things.”
Member-Meneh, along with Andrea Fuentes, who had 32 assists on Sunday's match and at least 30 in every match so far this season, were named to the Tiger Invitational All-Tournament Team.
“We always know what to expect from (Fuentes) and where the ball is going to go,” Member-Meneh said. “She is always consistent and that is a great thing to have as a hitter.”
Even with the Tigers sweeping the Broncos, the match was extremely competitive. Missouri struggled to find its identity on offense in the first set because of a Broncos defense blocking potential kills by Deberg and Dariana Hollingsworth-Santana.
It caused the Tigers to be more aggressive. Missouri started attacking low volleys off of the net, finding holes in the Broncos defense. That is when the offense finally opened up, causing Boise State to hit higher shots and letting Missouri develop easy kill opportunities for Deberg and Tyanna Omazic.
The Tigers went back and forth with the Broncos early, tying it 13-13. That’s when they went on a 8-0 scoring run led by Deberg and Omazic and won the first set 25-15 on .308 hitting after struggling early.
“We had to adjust ourselves,” Taylor said. “We slowed down our approach as attackers and sped up the set a little bit with Kylie (Deberg).”
The second set started the same as the first with both teams making great plays on both sides of the ball that led to the set being tied at 14-14. The Tigers went on another scoring run, extending their lead to 19-14 behind multiple blocks and kills by Deberg.
The Broncos tried to rally, but Hollingsworth-Santana and Member-Meneh tallied multiple kills to take the set 25-19 .
The third set was all Tigers. Missouri jumped ahead to a 15-7 lead behind great defensive blocks by Omazic and Hollingsworth-Santana. The rest of the set was led by a ruthless attack of kills that were struck so hard that Boise State defenders had a tough time even getting out of the way. Missouri closed out the match with a 25-14 set win. This was the fourth straight-set victory for Missouri this season.
“This weekend just shows how hard we have been working in practice,” Member-Meneh said. “I hope we can continue winning games.”
The win sealed the championship for the Tiger Invitational. Missouri went a perfect 4-0 over the weekend and improved their overall record to 8-0 for the sixth time since 2000.
“It feels awesome to go 4-0 this weekend,” Memer-Meneh said. “We played some pretty good teams this weekend.”
Missouri continues play next weekend with a tough road trip to Texas for the Baylor Classic . Even though the Tigers had a great weekend, they won’t be looking at their past victories to be the key for their future success.
“We get ready for next weekend by completely forgetting about this weekend,” Member-Meneh said. “We need to be focused on who we play next.”
Next on the schedule is No. 5 Baylor at 6 p.m. on Sept 20. Baylor is currently the highest ranked opponent on Missouri’s schedule. The road trip concludes with a matchup against No. 18 Hawaii at 2 p.m. on Sept. 21 in Waco.